Obama Pokes Kabila on FDLR as Genocide Commemoration Begins

Heads are spinning in DRCongo after US President, Barack Obama, telephoned President Joseph Kabila demanding he cooperates with the UN stabilization mission (MONUSCO) to disarm the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels.

In a phone conversation with Kabila, Tuesday, March 31, Obama insisted Kabila should step up his commitment on ensuring peace in the great lakes region.

Obama’s call came at a time Rwanda begins the commemoration of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, of which the FDLR rebels are largely responsible.

Rwanda has expressed frustration at the lack of action against the rebels.

The FDLR had, until 2 January, 2015, to voluntarily drop their guns in a deadline set by International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Speaking at a major monthly press conference at his office in January, President Paul Kagame said the FDLR militia remains a huge security threat to Rwanda and was not satisfied with the way the disarmament issue was being addressed.

“The way FDLR issue is being handled, it’s as if killing people was not such a bad thing after all,” said Kagame.

He said that, “Elsewhere, when people kill people on the streets, it’s an outrage, when the same is done in Rwanda, it’s political grievances.”

US President Obama online speaking to DRCongo's Leader Joseph Kabila. encouraged cooperation between the Armed Forces of the DRC and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC in operations against the FDLR.
US President Obama online speaking to DRCongo’s Leader Joseph Kabila. He encouraged cooperation between the Armed Forces of the DRC and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC in operations against the FDLR.

However, since the January deadline for the FDLR rebels to disarm, only a handful of aging and sicken rebels have surrendered in what looks as a mockery.

Kagame said, “If the disarmament of FDLR rebels fails, Rwanda will tighten its internal security to make sure that nothing will destabilize the country.”

President Kagame  is not happy with different players that have been speculating in regard to FDLR disarmament.

“If the groups that Monusco, the Congolese government and the international community as a whole consider – or pretend to consider –as criminal groups for years, still operate without any serious offensive being mounted against them then that means the problem is elsewhere,” he said in an interview with Jeune Afrique magazine on March 29.

Rwanda holds it that the insensitivities around this issue remind Rwandans what they (FDLR) committed in the Genocide. “It reveals that Genocide was broader than what people tend to believe, “Kagame said.

Meanwhile, Rwanda will mark the 21st commemoration of the genocide against Tutsis  on April 7.

Some of the FDLR militia surrender at a UN Base in DRCongo. The Militia responsible for Genocide in Rwanda had until January 2 to drop their guns or else face military action.


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